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Discussing tabletop and related gaming and the Irish gaming scene so you don't have to

A word from the War on Terror guys

Feb 5, 2011

With the usual intention of actually doing a little promotion of the podcast, I emailed TerrorBull Games and Gaming Paper to let them know about our reviews (because they're the little guys - haven't bothered with Hasbro or Lego yet but humbug insists there might be one guy at Lego headquarters who's constantly trying to push ahead the board game idea who'd be delighted to hear from us), which so far we've only done with the dude who wrote Duty & Honour (he said he appreciated our honesty because it was the only negative review it'd ever had.  WHY?).  Both companies wrote back!  Gaming Paper said humbug's Army of Darkness bit was very funny and I don't believe them, and Andrew from TerrorBull Games had loads of excellent stuff to say about War on Terror, which he gave us permission to reproduce here:

Hi Shane,

Thanks for letting us know - and for taking the time to review the game. It's most appreciated.

So, a tough audience ... but I get where you're coming from. The criticisms that Liam (?) raised have certainly been mentioned before - the game can be pretty chaotic and unfair if the chaos lands disproportionately with you. Yeh, that kinda sucks if your shiny new empire gets bombed back to the stone age in one turn, but not only is that intentional, but we made it pretty easy to recover should that happen. Yes, you can nuke someone, play the "look through the deck" card and nuke them again and yes, that hurts, but it's damn funny for everyone else.

Some people say we're sacrificing gameplay for theme and that may well be the case, but I prefer to see it as not looking for something in War on Terror that isn't there. It's not Diplomacy or Chess. Pure strategies don't exist - nor will they probably be rewarded. It's a very human game and full of human error. China's a weakspot to build your empire? No kidding - don't build there in great concentration unless you have a nuclear bunker handy (and a nuke for deterrence, why not?).

Anyway, sorry, I don't mean to sound defensive - it was an honest review and I can't (and don't want to) control how you approach the game. However, I did actually want to write with some advice. Some people find that they're not being aggressive enough and they focus only on empire building. Suddenly someone builds 3 cities and they've won. The solution here is to look ahead and keep people who are within 3 or 4 points of winning well in check. Other people have the opposite problem and are too aggressive and initiate a damaging and money-sapping tit-for-tat battle where you basically take it in turns to demolish each others' empire. These games can be particularly chaotic and "tippy". The solution here is to be creatively aggressive. Pay someone else to do your fighting for you - or better still, play two Empires off against each other.

I just wanted to offer that to those of you who are interested in playing the game again. It can be tamed and it can be very rewarding - you can almost go as deep with the game as the group wants to go. I know I've left  some particularly intense games psychologically and emotionally drained.

Anyway, thanks once again. I like your show - very listenable.

Cheers,
Andrew

Good stuff!  He also said it's spurred him to make a video on how to play the game to get the most out of it, which I haven't been able to find yet but will post here if I do so basically this useless sentence serves no purpose but as a placeholder.

Shane